April 18, 2021

Alphatracks

Sony and Minolta SLR Weblog

Sony Alpha A350 ships — Adobe pulls ACR update

Sony has started shipping the Alpha A350. I took delivery of one of the big orange boxes last week and have started putting the A350 through it’s paces. So far, I am fairly pleased with the 14m dSLR — I will post a review with samples shortly.

I had hoped to update my copy of Adobe Lightroom to version 1.4, which is required to read the RAW files from the Sony Alpha A350, A300 and the A200 as well as several other new cameras. Unfortunately, Adobe posted the update for only a few hours. If you click on the link to update to 1.4, you get the message:

The Lightroom 1.4 update has been temporarily removed from the Adobe.com web site in order to allow time for additional investigation into several bugs that were discovered after the update was released.

Adobe hasn’t said when the revised 1.4 updater will be available, but until they get their act together, I won’t be able to process my A350 RAW files in Lightroom. This limitation also applies to Adobe Camera Raw, meaning at this point there is no way to edit A350 RAW files with an Adobe product.

New tilt live view

Sony has started shipping the A350 model, with the similar A300 to come shortly. Don’t expect to edit RAW files in Lightroom/ACR until Adobe perfects the latest update to ACR.

My fall back has been Sony’s Image Data Converter and Lightbox SR which shipped with the A350. The two programs do a credible job, but I know exactly what to expect from LR. It will take some time to become comfortable with editing in with the Sony software. In addition, the Sony software does not recognize my older Minolta RAW files, so I require two different sets of software to work with my image collection. Grrr. I hope Adobe fixes the bugs in 1.4 soon.

Of course there is another solution: Apples’ Aperture. Frequent Alphatracks contributor Bert Pasquale has been playing with Aperture 2.0 and he seems more than happy with it. He writes:

Apple released a RAW Compatibility update, adding new RAW conversion support into Aperture 2.0 & iPhoto ’08 for the new Sony DSLRs. The update includes new support for several manufactures. (If you’re using a $25k Hasselblad, you’ve also been given the keys to the Apple workflow!)

The interesting thing is, this is the first time Apple has released RAW processing updates apart from a system update. This is very significant, as it answers the question of how quickly Apple can support new cameras: “Whenever they want” – potentially even before a new model hits the street. If so, Apple could finally make good on their 2006 “Mac Guy” ad of instant Mac-Camera hand-in-hand coziness and language fluidity.

Also note that the Flash Gallery Exporter Plug-in has been recently updated with new gallery codes and is compatible with AP2 and iPhoto ’08. I am currently using it to upload model portfolio shoot proofs of 7D/A100/A700 RAW files I’ve been re-processing with better results in AP2.

Sincerely,

– Bert Pasquale

Let me think about this. Aperture and iPhoto are more or less niche products in Apple’s product line. They help with the bottom line, of course, but they are far from Apple’s main bread and butter. On the other hand, Photoshop is Adobe’s crown jewel. They make a lot of cash from other sources, but Photoshop is their premier product.

So how is it that Apple appears to effortlessly produce an update that supports the latest cameras well in advance of their release date, while Adobe’s can’t ship it’s famed Camera Raw software until after the new models hit the street? For that matter, why did Adobe release an ACR/Lightroom update that was so filled with bugs that almost a week afterwards they still haven’t been able to fix it?